Housed within the University of British Columbia Department of Geography, the UBC Urban Studies Lab (UBC USL) serves as an interdisciplinary hub for critical urban praxis. Our mission is to assemble teams of social scientists, humanities scholars and natural scientists to pursue interdisciplinary projects that contribute to the cultivation of social justice in the city. Our two major streams of praxis are urban digital culture and sustainable urban environmental planning. Current projects include the development of Indigenized urban-environmental planning praxis that seek to foment urban health and wellbeing thorough planning and development of urban spaces that can facilitate land-based pedagogies and medicinal gift economies in collaboration with UBC’s Indigenous Health Research and Education Gardens and the UBC USL Critical Theory Internship which draws exceptional undergraduate students into a community that pursues critical urban theory as a way of life.

UBC USL - Technology

UBC USL Tech is the technology-oriented stream of the UBC USL. Our technology research centers on issues of digital culture with a focus on algorithms in society. From development of theory and method for software based data analytics applications in the social sciences and digital humanities to more nuanced philosophical questions concerning the nature of algorithmic epistemology, our work attempts to elucidate the nature of contemporary social transformations associated with the rise of artificial intelligence, robotics and noospheric digital culture. 

"The central mission of CCIS is to mobilize the exponential advances in open-source data processing possibilities to refine and synthesize critical theories in philosophy, international relations, sociology, cultural studies, geography, and urban studies. Data and information are co-evolving, at an accelerating pace, with the processes by which groups form ‘publics’ and share consciousness in dynamic online discourse communities--which in turn interact in and with the physical settings of cities and suburbs that are at once familiar and yet newly transformed by the constant informational acceleration of mobile devices."

-Dr. Elvin K. Wyly, Professor of Geography, Director of the UBC Urban Studies Program and (Co)Founder-Director UBC Urban Studies Lab.

UBC USL Environmental Planning

UBC USL Environment is the environmental sustainability oriented stream of the UBC USL. Our research centers on the nexus of worldview (the nexus of cosmology and ontology), epistemology and teleology (which emerge from worldview) and the potentials for human-nature relations established therein. In more applied terms we are working to develop an Indigenized planning paradigm-praxis that develops its conceptions of humanity’s teleological potentials and imperatives and derives its survey process from alternative ways of knowing (particularly Indigenous ways of knowing). This Indigenized planning paradigm-praxis will facilitate the cultivation of urban health and wellbeing through providing planning scholars and professionals with a model for developing places in urban spaces that can facilitate land-water-sky based pedagogies and medicinal gift economies.


The UBC Geographer: "CCIS, UBC Urban Studies Lab"


Research Community

Research Community

Luke R. Barnesmoore (CCIS Executive Director; PhD Candidate, UBC Department of Geography):

  • Co-Founder/Director

  • Luke R. Barnesmoore is Founder and Executive Director of the Center for Critical Interdisciplinary Studies 501(c)3 (CCIS), Co-Founder and Co-Director of the UBC Urban Studies Lab (UBC USL) and PhD Candidate in the University of British Columbia Department of Geography. Current research centers the nexus of worldview (cosmology-ontology-->teleology), epistemology and human-nature relations. Outside of his formal academic work Luke pursues creative writing on a number of topics from contemporary politics through spirituality and human evolution and volunteers in the in the unneeded xʷməθkʷəy̓əm gardens' (also known as the Indigenous Health Research and Education Gardens).

Elvin K. Wyly (Professor, UBC Department of Geography):

  • Co-Founder/Director

  • Elvin Wyly is Professor of Geography and Chair of the Urban Studies Coordinating Committee at the University of British Columbia.  He is a specialist on urban social and spatial inequality in U.S. and Canadian cities.  His work has been supported by grants and contracts from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Fannie Mae Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation.  He has served as Editor and Editor-in-Chief of the journal Urban Geography (2005-2015).  Recent publications include “Emplacement and the Dispossessions of Cosmopolitan Capital” (Geoforum), “Gentrification on the Planetary Urban Frontier:  The Evolution of Turner’s Noösphere” (Urban Studies), “Make America Housing Great Again” (Housing Policy Debate), and “Planetary Kantsaywhere:  Cognitive Capitalist Universities and Accumulation by Cognitive Dispossession” (City).

Nicole Rallis (PhD Student, UBC School of Community and Regional Planning):

  • Planning Theory Research Fellow

Dustin Gray (PhD Student, UBC Department of Geography)

  • Urban Theory Research Fellow

Wilson Mendes (PhD Student, UBC Faculty of Land and Food Systems)

  • Indigenous Food Sovereignty Research Fellow

Lucie Irene Ashley (Master of International Forestry, UBC Department of Forest Resources Management):

  • Environment and Sustainability Research Fellow 

Critical Theory Interns:

Silvana Martinez: I am currently a second year Arts student with interests in human geogrpahy, sociology, and philosophy (still undeclared). My research interests of the moment regard the incorporation of art forms and autoethnographic methods as sources for insight in urban-related topics. I am currently learning about these methods and using my own photographic content to begin exploring urban themes therein.

Brenna Williams

Bobby Malone